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PeerJ. 2017 Nov 21;5:e4061. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4061. eCollection 2017.

Levels of detail analysis of microwave scattering from human head models for brain stroke detection.

Author information

Research Center for Modeling and Simulation (RCMS), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) H-12, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Contributed equally


In this paper, we have presented a microwave scattering analysis from multiple human head models. This study incorporates different levels of detail in the human head models and its effect on microwave scattering phenomenon. Two levels of detail are taken into account; (i) Simplified ellipse shaped head model (ii) Anatomically realistic head model, implemented using 2-D geometry. In addition, heterogenic and frequency-dispersive behavior of the brain tissues has also been incorporated in our head models. It is identified during this study that the microwave scattering phenomenon changes significantly once the complexity of head model is increased by incorporating more details using magnetic resonance imaging database. It is also found out that the microwave scattering results match in both types of head model (i.e., geometrically simple and anatomically realistic), once the measurements are made in the structurally simplified regions. However, the results diverge considerably in the complex areas of brain due to the arbitrary shape interface of tissue layers in the anatomically realistic head model. After incorporating various levels of detail, the solution of subject microwave scattering problem and the measurement of transmitted and backscattered signals were obtained using finite element method. Mesh convergence analysis was also performed to achieve error free results with a minimum number of mesh elements and a lesser degree of freedom in the fast computational time. The results were promising and the E-Field values converged for both simple and complex geometrical models. However, the E-Field difference between both types of head model at the same reference point differentiated a lot in terms of magnitude. At complex location, a high difference value of 0.04236 V/m was measured compared to the simple location, where it turned out to be 0.00197 V/m. This study also contributes to provide a comparison analysis between the direct and iterative solvers so as to find out the solution of subject microwave scattering problem in a minimum computational time along with memory resources requirement. It is seen from this study that the microwave imaging may effectively be utilized for the detection, localization and differentiation of different types of brain stroke. The simulation results verified that the microwave imaging can be efficiently exploited to study the significant contrast between electric field values of the normal and abnormal brain tissues for the investigation of brain anomalies. In the end, a specific absorption rate analysis was carried out to compare the ionizing effects of microwave signals to different types of head model using a factor of safety for brain tissues. It is also suggested after careful study of various inversion methods in practice for microwave head imaging, that the contrast source inversion method may be more suitable and computationally efficient for such problems.


Finite element method; Forward problem; Human brain stroke; Inverse problem; Levels of detail; Microwave imaging

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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